Portable hard drives are becoming more popular due to them being available in bigger sizes than the were previously. Having said that, larger capacity external hard drives can be extremely expensive. Also, what if it is the case that you’re upgrading your old laptop or PC? You might simply scrap the whole system, or leave it to rot in a cupboard somewhere. Instead of doing that though, an alternative would be to recycle it, but not in the way you might think.
Instead, it would make sense to re-purpose it so that you can continue to use it. For some, this may seem too technical. This is especially true if it is a laptop that has given up the ghost, but you’re wanting the hard drive out of it. It may be the case that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about how to remove the old drive from it. Thankfully, there’s more likely going to be a YouTube video available for you to do this.
An external enclosure is needed
Basically, to hook up your external drive to your new laptop or PC to make it portable, you’re going to need an enclosure. There are hundreds of these available online. However, the quality of these varies wildly between suppliers. Since you’re going to be trusting this to transmit your data, it would make sense not to cheap out on this by buying one at less than a price of coffee from Starbucks. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on it either.
Depending on the type of drive that you have, this will dictate the enclosure you buy. By now, it would seem unlikely that you’d need an IDE to USB 3 enclosure. However, if you’re upgrading from an extremely old PC or laptop that was IDE compliant, then you should be able to get a case that fits your needs. For the majority of people reading this though, a SATA case is required. If your PC or laptop was made in the last 10 years, it’ll have a SATA drive in it.
The form factor is the next issue you need to contend with. The drive will either be 2.5″ or 3.5″, with the former mainly being in laptops and the latter in PCs. The only exception to this rule is when it comes to SSDs, as these will always be 2.5″ regardless of what device that have been installed in.
If it is the case that you’ve got drives of both sizes, and you’ll be swapping back and forth between them then it might make sense to opt for a dual size dock. This allows you use both sizes of storage devices in the dock, meaning that you don’t need to buy two enclosures.
A key example of this is the offering from Sabrent. Their enclosure supports USB 3 and 2, with transfer speeds being up to 5Gbps and 480Mbps respectively. It also comes with a power cable since it needs to be powered at the mains, which may be a disadvantage for some. The reviews on this dock speak for themselves, and it’s highly recommended.
For those that only need an enclosure for one form factor, there are cheaper alternatives available. In both instances, Aukey provide excellent enclosures for your needs. In the case of the 3.5″ variant, this will need to be powered by the mains since these storage devices have a power draw greater than that supplied by USB. For the 3.5″ variant, it is composed of aluminium to ensure that heat levels are kept low and is available in the USA. A high amount of heat could otherwise lead to degradation of the drive over time. This could of course also result in data loss.
However, there is also a growing increase in laptops especially that don’t have USB 3 ports. Instead, USB Type C is being adopted more readily on newer units, instead. Aukey have jumped onto this by creating one of the very few, stable USB Type C enclosures for the UK and USA markets.
Likewise, you might be wondering just how exactly you install your hard drive into the enclosure. This can be more problematic for laptop drives than it is for desktop drives. However, the video below will show you everything you need to know in order to carry out this task. Whilst the enclosure used in the video is different from the one described above, the process is by and large the same.